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acceptable return contact from school?

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i have an issue -- not too big but trying to be proactive -- with my "nondiagnosed" pandas child. he does have diagnosed social anxiety disorder. he does not currently have a 504. i am not actually in a rush for him to have one. however, i need people to understand that he may need a little extra help in some situations. if they cannot, he will need a 504.


i usually think giving 2 days for a response is fair. it has been all week (monday was my first contact) and 3 contacts. i let today go b/c i was out of town. i will contact on monday -- it will be day 6 and my 4th contact. to be fair, first contact was to one person and 3rd was to another -- but all 3 people involved have been cc-ed on all.


i think this is unacceptable. i have had an extremely good relationship with many people at this school up until this point.

please -- opinions as i go into this on monday. thanks!

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I am not sure if I am following you here. Your "non" diagnosed son has social anxiety (diagnosed) but no 504. and you conacted people at the school to talk about this, but they've not gotten back to you after 6 days and 4 attempted contacts? Is that correct?


I am wondering if the contact attempts have been email or if they have been phone calls.


Also, are you contacting them just to make them aware of your son's needs, or did a specific incident occur for which you would like some clarification?

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I think It's really about money. 504 is so federal moneys become available. I'm guessing the district is pulling money for something like being absent. Since the school probably already budgets the money then absences would mean they fall short. I doubt they plan for ccontingencies these days. so any oppturnity to generate funds would make them act. Anyway I have no Idea kust rambling.

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Hey smarty!


We have had great luck with our schools so far, in DC and now in NJ.


However, I deal with everything in a very informal manner- with the teacher. Our school principal was initially given a diagnosis letter and "heads up" and then I told her most likely we could just deal with things with the teacher. So far, our teachers have been wonderfully concerned, receptive and helpful. I reach out to them via email, and usually get a message back within a day.


I am wondering who you are emailing (assuming it is email). I think that for the most part, in a school, the teachers are the ones who care about the kids more than the "proper channels" and paperwork. Are you emailing the teacher? If you do not get a response within 24 to 48 hours of an email, I would stop in and talk to the teacher in the morning or afternoon, or lunchtime, and request a conference?


If you have a non responsive teacher- that is going to make life harder, and I would then request a 504. In my experience, in our school, you just say 504 and you are set up with a whole child study team....

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kimballot -- yes, i'm not too clear b/c i'm trying not to babble -- i mean not official 'PANDAS' diagnosis. thanks dcmom -- i was hoping you'd weigh in.


this is a charter school with a bit of a different philosophy and generally very child oriented. there is a 'student support center' that helps with problems and behaviors.


he has trouble with the cultural arts, "fun" classes. he was able to work through a problem with art a few months ago, with adult help. his classroom teacher has been very helpful and supportive of him.


now the problem is with music. his anxiety generally presents in a 'freeze' or 'fight' manner. to those not in the know, the freeze can be maddening and seen as difficult behavior.


a specific incident happened and i believe the music teacher sees it as solely difficult behavior. the meeting with the tech in the support center seemed to be less than helpful. that afternoon, i stopped in to ask for direction and was told to contact the tech's supervisor to meet. i did that via e-mail as first contact on monday, with classroom teacher on cc and VP who had been involved in art issue and aware of music issue on cc-also. wednesday, i phoned, left message on voice mail. initally, i wanted clarification of what happened (b/c i have only heard the anxious 11 year old's version) and to make them aware that he has been feeling anxious about music for some time -- this is likely the cullmination of that, not simply an incident of unprovoked poor behavior (not that there really is such a thing anyway).


that had us back to thursday, music day. he was resistant to go, troubled. sent e-mail to classroom teacher as fyi that this is still a problem for him. the only outcome from tech meeting was that he could have a wiggle seat b/c they sit on floor and he says his back hurts -- no seat for him that day. the asst in his class did talk with him. class went okay, but he still feels there is trouble with teacher and feels he needs solutions.


previously, we have had quick, great response from classroom teacher. in my e-mail to her, i asked what she is seeing at school and for direction if she feels we need to discuss more support for him. i'm a bit baffled why no response.

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I would march myself down to the school to personally talk to the music teacher.


We had an issue with the music teacher a few years ago! I will elaborate when I have more time.


I do think the first and best step is always to talk directly to the teacher involved!

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I'll second Eileen's advice - you need to talk directly to the music teacher. I think, rather than just showing up at the school and asking for her, I'd place a phone call directly to her so that (even if she may deserve it to some extent) she won't feel all-out ambushed. You're aware she has responsibilities and probably 10s of music students, so you're respectful of her time. But you need to speak with her ASAP and are willing to do it either over the phone or in person, more or less at her earliest availability.


We've had similar issues in the past, and we sort of expected (or hoped) that our "go-to" people in the school . . . the ones that "got" DS and were very supportive of him . . . would intervene with the problematic teacher on his behalf and help straighten things out. Truth is, though, schools . . . even the best ones . . . are every bit as political an animal as most other workplaces, and most teachers and even many administrators seem reluctant to get in the mix and say anything to another teacher (especially if they're not friendly and collaborative on a daily basis) that could be construed as "telling them how to do their job."


In the end, hopefully this teacher, once put in the loop, will at least abide your DS rather than ride him, even if she secretly continues to harbor the incorrect belief that he's choosing his behavior rather than suffering from anxiety. Unfortunately, despite all the fabulous teachers and administrators we've had over the years, there's also that handful of self-absorbed, inflexible, unenlightened and completely disinterested in changing that status quo school personnel who just don't "get it" and have no interest in ever "getting it." Thus began our DS's life education in strategies for "surviving" difficult and/or unkind people. It stinks to have to commence that education at a young age, but, in the end, it has helped him to hold fast to a healthy self-image and to understand that it is not always about "him." That there are people out there who are unreachable, and you just have to develop ways of coping and, frankly, getting around them, so that you have the best possible day, rather than letting these folks ruin your day or dictate to you in terms of defining yourself.


*Sigh* We began DS's school years with the premise that all teachers are good, all teachers are authority, all teachers have your best interest in mind. By 4th grade, we'd been forced to modify that world view, and DS came to understand that his gym teacher at the time was inadequate, self-absorbed, ineffective, and incapable of empathy, not just for him, but for a number of his classmates. The blush was off the rose! <_< But DS also knew that he had to continue to obey this teacher to the best of his ability while in his classroom/gym, and he had to continue to respond respectfully, as well. But this teacher's poor attitude and treatment did not define DS, was not even about him, and he did not need to take to heart anything this buffoon said to him or his friends that he knew intuitively was out of line and/or unkind.


I'd like to say that this was the first and last experience of its kind that we've had during DS's 10 years of schooling thus far, but that would be untrue. :P The good news is, though, that this early, forced education in self-acceptance and self-image protection has served him well, and now the odd "bad" teacher doesn't make much of a dent in DS's day.

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When my younger daughter was in 2nd grade we moved to her current school. She had a pandas diagnosis, and she also has an issue (that is actually much bigger for her at school) of extreme shyness with adults (very selective, selective mutism). We met with the principal, who was lovely, gave her documentation, etc, and she said she would be there for whatever we needed. We pre met with her teacher, beyond amazing and formerly very shy herself, who was super supportive on a daily basis to our daughter (and all of her students).


What we forgot to do was bring the "specials" teachers into the fold.


One day dd came home and told me she would probably fail music. She told me she got a "0" for the day. The reason, the kids were required to sing America in front of the class, alone. She could not do it.


Yikes. I felt so bad. The teacher had given her a hard time about it. How painful.


I immediately emailed the classroom teacher who was shocked, and immediately had a meeting with the music teacher. All was well after that.


We are in the process of putting a 504 in place for dd who will go to middle school next year. It really is not for pandas (although that is my diagnosis code), but for the shyness issue. Since it will be a 504 ALL of the teachers will be informed of the issue, and how it should be handled, prior to meeting Julia. This should prevent problems before they happen. The 504 will ask for minor accommodations (basically realize the kid is shy, be a little more sensitive than usual for the first marking period) that will phase out after the first year. Our goal is always to get to "normal", no accommodations, but the 504 is really awesome because everyone in the school takes it seriously- that has been our experience. I would probably encourage a 504- smarty. We had one for my older dd- because she had a bad flare up in 5th grade. There was very little in it, and we just cancelled it this year- it is really a painless procedure (in my experience) that should prevent the type of issue you are having now.


Hang in there!

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